Joanna, Duchess of Brabant

Joanna, Duchess of Brabant (24 June 1322 – 1 December 1406), also known as Jeanne, was a ruling Duchess of Brabant from 1355 until her death. She was duchess of Brabant until the occupation of the duchy by her brother-in-law Louis II of Franders. Following her death, the rights to the duchy of Brabant went to her nephew Antoine.

Duchess of Brabant, Lothier, and Limburg
Born24 June 1322
Died1 December 1406(1406-12-01) (aged 84)
BuriedCarmelite monastery, Brussels
Noble familyHouse of Reginar
Spouse(s)William II, Count of Hainaut
Wenceslaus I, Duke of Luxembourg
FatherJohn III, Duke of Brabant
MotherMarie d'Évreux


Joanna was born 24 June 1322, the daughter of John III, Duke of Brabant[1] and Marie d'Évreux.[2] Her first marriage, in 1334, was to William II, Count of Hainaut (1307–1345),[3] who subsequently died in battle and their only son William died young, thus foiling the project of unifying their territories.

Joanna's second marriage was to Wenceslaus of Luxemburg.[1] The famous document, the foundation of the rule of law in Brabant called the Blijde Inkomst ("Joyous Entry"), was arrived at in January 1356, in order to assure Joanna and her consort peaceable entry into their capital and to settle the inheritance of the Duchy of Brabant on her "natural heirs", who were Joanna's sisters, they being more acceptable to the burghers of Brabant than rule by the House of Luxembourg. The document was seen as a dead letter, followed by a military incursion in 1356 into Brabant by Louis II of Flanders, who had married Margaret, Joanna's younger sister, and considered himself Duke of Brabant by right of his wife. With the Duchy overrun by Louis' forces, Joanna and Wencelaus signed the humiliating Treaty of Ath, which ceded Mechelen and Antwerp to Louis.[4] By August 1356 Joanna and Wencelaus had called upon the Emperor, Charles IV to support them by force of arms. Charles met at Maastricht with the parties concerned, including representatives of the towns, and all agreed to nullify certain terms of the Blijde Inkomst, to satisfy the Luxembourg dynasty. The duchy continued to deteriorate with Wencelaus's defeat and capture at the battle of Baesweiler in 1371.[5]

On Joanna's death, by agreement the Duchy passed to her great-nephew Antoine, the second son of her niece Margaret III, Countess of Flanders.

Her tomb was not erected in the Carmelite church in Brussels until the late 1450s; it was paid for in 1459 by her sister's great-grandson, Philip the Good. Though it was destroyed in the course of the French Revolutionary Wars, its appearance has been reconstructed from drawings and descriptions by Lorne Campbell,[6] who concluded that the tomb was an afterthought, providing an inexpensive piece of propaganda for Philip's dynastic rights.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Blockmans & Prevenier 1999, p. 11.
  2. ^ Keane 2016, p. 168.
  3. ^ Vale 2002, p. 194-195.
  4. ^ Richard Vaughan, Philip the Bold, (The Boydell Press, 2009), 80.
  5. ^ Richard Vaughan, Philip the Bold, 80.
  6. ^ Campbell, "The Tomb of Joanna, Duchess of Brabant" Renaissance Studies 2.2, (1988) pp 163-72.
  7. ^ Philip's position is outlined in Robert Stein "Philip the Good and the German Empire. The legitimation of the Burgundian succession to the German principalities", Centre Européen d'Etudes Bourguignonnes 36, 1996.


  • Blockmans, Willem Pieter; Prevenier, Walter (1999). Peters, Edward (ed.). The Promised Lands: The Low Countries Under Burgundian Rule, 1369-1530. Translated by Fackelman, Elizabeth. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Keane, Marguerite (2016). Material Culture and Queenship in 14th-century France: The Testament of Blanche of Navarre (1331-1398). Brill.
  • Vale, Malcolm (2002). The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe, 1270-1380. Oxford University Press.
Regnal titles
Preceded by Duchess of Brabant
with Wenceslaus (1355–1383)
Succeeded by